I just finished my thesis, a collection of essays heavily influenced by my relationship with my father. In writing, I did a lot of research about how to write a father well—it’s important to be fair, honest, and walk the line between admiration and condemnation. (Kind of like life.)
It’s no surprise that through this, I kept returning to Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club. In this memoir, which is lauded as the work that sparked the memoir wave, Karr watches her father’s habits and mistakes like a scientist might observe a rare species. She loves him, happy in his shadow, but is somehow careful never to rose-tint his anger, jealousy, or rage. It is one of the most loving portraits of a father I could ever hope to see—one that acknowledges and respects the dark while still celebrating the light.